‘A Child is Waiting’ on Blu-ray

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

childBurt Lancaster and Judy Garland star in this extremely dramatic 1963 movie about mental illness. A Child is Waiting is intense and well acted.

Dr. Matthew Clark (Lancaster) heads a boarding school for special needs children. This man has empathy for the children and some controversial methods. He demands, in a nice way, that the children follow directions, join in activities, and learn to do things. He won’t allow them to sit alone and not take part in things. He knows that if they can learn to do things, even simple things, they will ultimately be more productive in their lives.

Jean Hansen (Garland) is the new music teacher at the school. She applied for the job to make a contribution to the world, unaware of what she was getting into. Immediately upon her arrival an autistic boy named Reuben befriends her. Reuben and Jean form a friendship that could be disruptive to the boy in the scheme of things. She devotes too much time to him and is berated by Dr. Clark. It is difficult for her to grasp his tough love methods. She is more of a nurturing woman but ultimately learns that his methods are for the good of the students.

The movie is intense and highlights the plight of special needs children in the 1960s. This was a time when they were referred to as “retarded” and all lumped into the same category. Some parents could not deal with their special needs kids while others embraced the lives of their children. Reuben’s parents (Gena Rowlands and Steven Hill) were the former. They basically had no contact with him in the two years since he was admitted to the school. Reuben’s situation caused a conflict in their relationship ultimately leading to their divorce. Every week little Reuben waited for one of them to visit on visiting day. But they never came.

Delving into the emotions of the parents, children, and the school staff, the movie shines a spotlight on the issue of mentally disabled children. It is an interesting topic and definitely intense.

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Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for 20 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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